Leisure centre for Western Wards reaches milestone

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FAREHAM council’s biggest ever leisure project – a £7m swimming pool – has reached two key milestones.

The leisure centre and swimming pool, destined for the site of the former Coldeast Hospital, in Sarisbury Green, received planning permission last week.

And contractors SLM were chosen to run the service on Monday.

Council leader Sean Woodward said he was delighted with the project’s progress, which should see the centre open in May 2016.

It was granted planning permission for the site east of Barnes Lane for a six-lane 25m pool, learner pool, spectator seating, changing facilities, 100-station fitness gym, dance and spinning studio plus 200 parking spaces and cycle parking.

Executive member for leisure and community Connie Hockley, also on the planning committee, thanked everybody for their involvement as the centre received planning permission.

Also on the committee, Trevor Cartwright said: ‘The product we are looking at here, with the leisure centre, is excellent. Everybody seems to be totally in favour and I am happy to support it.’

On Monday, the council chose SLM to run the centre because it currently operates Fareham Leisure Centre and has won many awards – including Leisure Centre of Year at the Flame awards two years running.

Due to this existing relationship, the council did not go out to tender for the contract instead issuing a voluntary ex ante transparency notice which received no challenges, meaning it could hand the contract straight to SLM for four years.

Cllr Woodward said: ‘They are doing a fantastic job running Fareham Leisure Centre as they ply their profits into improving the place and facilities.

‘It is a marvellous opportunity to run a brand new leisure centre.

‘I think everybody will be happy as SLM have already proved they can run the best leisure centre in the county.’

The leisure centre is just one part of the redevelopment of the former Coldeast Hospital site, with the council due to submit an application to build a cemetery in the coming weeks.